Tales from a tough week

It’s been a tough week. As this has swayed my positivity somewhat, one could argue that at times like this, I shouldn’t be writing a blog post on my own website. But what the hell…

Basing this post on the theory of “turning every negative into a positive” I’m hoping that by whining about a few of my  ‘less than favourite” moments this week, I might be able to offer some useful advice.

Marketing your business online is confusing.

It's no wonder that clients out there are befuddled. The online industry is still pretty new in Australia, and with the pressure for most businesses to have  presence online, many people are grasping at straws - clutching bits of advice from friends, quotes they read online and my favourite gripe, absolute gems of rubbish advice given to them by paid consultants. It’s a circus out there.

Corker of the week:

Let me start with my favourite. This one came from a web designer. It was so good, after the call I actually wrote it on my whiteboard.

“If the customer doesn’t know how to find information online, they shouldn’t be shopping online!”

Excuse me?

So, this guy is paid to build websites for businesses so they can sell stuff to customers. You know, so they can make money...

In order for the customer to be able to ‘buy stuff’ they have to be able to:

·        Find out about anything they need to know about the product or the purchasing process on the site

·        Find what they’re looking for & have all questions answered along the way

·        Be assured that they’re at the right place and that everything is safe and secure

·        Easily finding their way through check out.

It’s OUR JOB as copywriters, web designers, conversion consultants & SEOs to make it abundantly clear to customers where the information is so they can actually shop online. Anything short of this is pure arrogance.

To quote the overly quoted Steve Krug, “Don't make me think!”

Here’s another:

Client: “No, no – I don’t need to optimise my site. It’s fully optimised.”

Me: “How come you’re so sure?”

Client: “Because I’ve spent $5000. That’s why.”

Me: “ Ermmm…”

Client: “And they said it was fully optimised, so we don’t have to do anything.”

Me: (Opens another tab. Checks out the site. Views page source. Silently freaks out.)

“Actually, it’s not optimised at all. But they have stuffed a few keywords in.”

Client: “No no – it’s all done.”

Me: “Okay then.”

You believe your site is optimised – and I’ll believe that I’m a giraffe…

Yep, I'm a giraffe.

Yep, I'm a giraffe.

I’m not saying that this is the client’s fault. Well, okay to a degree, it is anyone’s fault to believe anyone that just tells them things. The issue that I find so offensive is that people are calling themselves professionals and dealing out truly awful service or simply wrong information.

Web designer wangdang of the week:

(Incidentally, not all web designers are bad - some are truly fabulous. Contact me and I can give you some names.) 

Web designer: “You don’t need words on a website. Nobody reads, anyway…”

Me: “ …………”

Really, what’s there to say?

Sure, it’s a well-known fact that people ‘skim’ or ‘scan' online. They don’t read in the same manner one reads a newspaper. But people read words on websites, for goodness sake. Words matter. Content matters. Google have little spiders that trawl the net looking for them so they can try to work out what on earth is going on. Customers need to read words. They need to know who you are, what you do, what you’re selling, (if you’re selling products online) how much they are, when they’re going to be delivered, and if they can get their money back if they don’t like it and so on.

In fact, if we take the subject of e-commerce, customers need words because they don’t have the product right there in their hands. You need to treat them like they are blind people and explain everything – the look, feel, size... Sure, decent photos help – and I love fantastic photos on webpages. (In fact,  it’s now strongly rumoured that Google reward you for having even more than one image on every web page.)

I guarantee you this much: if you pop a website up there with extremely few words, your site won’t rank or do well. Google won’t find it. And those customers  that actually get there won’t actually know what’s going on.

To summarise:

·        If a consultant tells you that you don’t need words on a website, choose another consultant.

·        If a consultant tells you the customers should be able to figure things out for themselves, choose another consultant.

·        If a consultant tells you that your site will be “fully optimised,” ask them what that means. And get a second opinion.

Enough already. Next time I my post, I promise to be in a better mood! J

No - actually, let's leave this post with a funny!

(Apologies - this one is actually taking the Mickey out of clients, not consultants…)

Client: “I don’t like the type.”

Me: “What don’t you like.”

Client: “I don’t like how it goes all to one side.”

Me: “You mean ranged left.”

Client: “Yes, yes, arranged left.”

Me: “How do you want it?”

Client: “To be the same on both sides.”

Me: “Justified?”

Client: “I don’t have to justify anything for you. I own the f*cking company.”


by Abi White